Everybody wants to build big biceps. Rock hard, shirt-ripping guns!
When we think of a bodybuilder, the muscle that usually comes to mind first is the bicep. It is the muscle that primarily singles you out as a person who lifts weights.
Hey, when someone knows you lift weights and asks you to flex a muscle, 9 times out of 10 they’re talking about your biceps.
The biceps are comprised of 2 heads; the short head or outer biceps, and the long head, or inner biceps. Our workouts should be focused on placing maximum overload on these 2 heads.
The brachialis and brachioradialis also get worked during bicep training. These are the muscles at the side of the arm between the biceps and triceps and get hit indirectly. You therefore don’t worry about isolating them for growth.
So How Do We Exercise Our Biceps Correctly For Optimal Growth?
Building Big Biceps Is Easy!
I said in an article last week that building powerful pecs was easy; it is. Building bulging biceps isn’t rocket science either. Again, it’s all about using proper form and sticking to the principles of progressive overload and the anabolic rep range of 8-12 reps.
All bicep exercises were not created equally however. Some are far-superior than others. The best bicep exercises are the mass-builders; they place stress primarily on the 2 heads of the biceps.
An Awesome Biceps Workout
(Mark performing EZ bar curls – and looking uncharacteristically mean ‘cuz he’s actually a thoroughly nice bloke 😉 )
If you really want to focus on your biceps and prioritize them over other body parts, it’s best to work them on a day of their own and complete 9 sets.
The following is a great bicep building workout. I believe this is the best biceps workout around for the natural bodybuilder.
(This shouldn’t take you any longer than 35 minutes maximum)
Set 1 – Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Set 2 – Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Set 3 – Alternate Dumbbell Curls
Set 4 – EZ Bar Curls (or straight bar curls)
Set 5 – EZ bar curls
Set 6 – EZ bar curls
Set 7 – Incline Dumbbell Curls
Set 8 – Incline Dumbbell Curls
Set 9 – Incline Dumbbell Curls
How To Perform This Workout
‘Alternate dumbbell curls’ means you perform 1 rep on 1 arm while the other hangs stationary by your side. Once you’ve completed that rep, raise the other arm and alternate each rep this way.
You can use either an EZ bar or a barbell, either is fine. I find an EZ bar more comfortable on my wrists and so I avoid using barbells (I was once out of action for about 3 weeks with sore wrists due to using a barbell for curls).
For Incline Dumbbell Curls lie back on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can alternate these reps if you prefer. Allow your arms to fall to their natural position at the end of each rep. Don’t try to keep your arms parallel with your body at the bottom of the movement. Your arms should hang straight while your body lies in an inclined position; this gives the bicep curl a greater range of motion and really stimulates the muscle for growth.
For the Entire Workout:
* Raise the dumbbell/barbell in an explosive motion (1-2 seconds)
* Lower the weight taking 2 seconds to do so
* Take 2 minutes rest between sets
* Perform this workout once a week as recommended in ‘Total Anabolism’
When done, go grab your post-workout shake to provide your body with what it needs repair and grow those aching biceps.
(If you have no desire to build any other muscle on your body, just biceps alone, you could perform this routine 2 – 3 times a week)
I loathe to hear women say how they don’t want lift weights because they’ll get bulky. Here’s the truth:
Women don’t build big muscles unless they take steroids, and even then they’re not that big.
The fact is that building muscle is as beneficial for women as it is for men. Those hard, chiselled biceps also look damn sexy on a woman so please girls, start lifting!
I look forward to hearing your results,
female bicep image credit: amproshoot@ flickr
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can you please tell me more about progressive overload, ho wmany reps per set should i be doing and should i go until failure pushing as much as i can? im a beginner im only 63 kg with a flabby belly i need some info please?
Please see favorite articles as I have written articles on both progressive overload and the ‘reps ans sets’ question
I was researching the same thing when I saw this.. It’s very good because you include the bicep anatomy so i know how it works. I can not agree more.
I was researching the same thing when I saw this.. It’s very good because you include the bicep anatomy so i know how it works. You also explain how it work and have pictures. Thanks.
great info. Just starting out again (gave up gym membership) but doing stuff at home. Your exercise show how easy it can be done at home
Thanks for the recipes too!
I tried to do the exercises you talked about, and you are right this can’t be rocket science, but I just can’t get the pump in my biceps, I seem to be lifting the weights with my arms, but not the muscle? What am I doing wrong?
The first thing comes to mind is that the weight is too heavy. Also, make sure you’re not using too much momentum and that you lift and lower in a smooth, controlled fashion.
i think that sounds like a good rutieen
ill give it a try and let you know how it goes
thanks mark haha that girl has a very impressive bicep
My understanding is that I shouldn’t exceed about an hour of training on a given day.
First, does that inculde warming up? (what’s your advice on warming up anyways?)
Secondly, after an hour at the gym, I always feel tempted to go for more! does that sound familiar?
iam 24 yearsold,,i started doin jym 3 months before..i hve no progress found..i really need to get big shape biceps..my chest is soo loose like girls what to do?
Anoop, you need to download my free book and start working your whole body.
Hi Mark… Love your stuff! Been doing the Bicep workout. I now feel that I am recovered in about 4-5 days. Could I or should I do the workout every 4-5 days or alternate 1-2 times weekly or stick with the 1 time a week? I just feel I am recovered before the 7 days have hit.
Once a week is best for us naturals, Dan.
Remember that your biceps get indirect stimulation on other days too.
Hi mark, i feel 9 sets for biceps is too excessive as you already mentioned it gets worked indirectly with most other muscles and because of that i feel 4 sets is enough,i also do that for other small muscle groups aswell?
its been past 2 yrs i am working out and havent seen any progress……. getting depressed….
i do workout for a part twice a week….
is it wrong…. way should i reduce it to once a week
Hey I was wondering if u could tell me if the current workout plan I have is good:
Chest press 4 sets of 184.108.40.206
Pec fly 4 sets of 8,6,6,2(max)
Bench press 8, 6,6,2(max)
EZ bar curl- 8,6,6,4(max)
Hammer curl 6,6,4,4
Bar curl on my home gym 6,6,6,6
Tricep pull down 8,6,6,6
tricep kickbacks 220.127.116.11(max)-using dumbells
Overhead tricep extensions 8,6,6,4(max)-using dumbbells
Lat pull down 8,6,6,4
Close-grip lat pull down 8,6,6,4
Leg press 8,6,6,4
Side lateral raises 6,6,4,2 –
Front lateral raises6,6,4,2 – using dumbbells
Back lateral raises 6,6,4,2 –
FRI- Bi’s Tri’s again –
Sat sun off
Sry for it being so long :p and im 16 and weigh around 155-160 im 5’11
can you tell me TESTOSTERONE rela’n with muscle.
does stimulation of TESTO..= muscle build
muscle hard traninig= stimulation of TESTO..
ACT VICE VERSA?